Ngahuia Harrison: E takarae ki te muri i raro mata raranga mai kaewa ki te rangi ko au ki raro whakaaro rangi ai*
13 April 2017 - 26 May 2017
Ngahuia Harrison, Dead Leaves, 2011. Digital Print.
Ngahuia Harrison’s exhibition explores the Treaty settlement process from a specific locale: Ngāti Rehua, a hapū of Ngātiwai iwi, of which she is a part. The project responds to two urgencies within this process. The first is imposed by the Government’s need to ‘finish everything off’, resolving settlements within a time limit. While Harrison’s whānau, hapū and iwi work under the pressure of legal deadlines, generations become further detached from tūrangawaewae, reo kāinga and tikanga kāinga. The second urgency is the iwi’s own, in relation to to kaitiakitanga of mātauranga o te Ngātiwai. With the loss of many of their kaumatua and kuia who, with their knowledge of Te Ao Māori, are the kaiārahi for whānau, the stresses of numerous Waitangi Urgency Hearings take on additional significance. The ongoing struggle as Ngātiwai carve a space that is tika in Aotearoa, and throughout these negotiations, is further complicated by having to work within entrenched colonial systems, language, and power structures.
The patere that is the project's title was recited by Harrison’s tipuna Hone Paama at the Māori Land Court hearings determining the tenure of Hauturu (Little Barrier Island). Taking its lead, rather than straightforward documentation of the settlement process, the project draws on the whakapapa of the rohe, Te Tai Tokerau and Aotea, and of Harrison’s whānau, hapū and iwi, toward an installation in which multiple ideas of time are at play in relation to the settlement. The exhibition includes large-scale photographic works, an audio recording, and Pūriri benches for sitting and listening. Harrison says, “My intention is that the installation is a space with the wide-open space for contemplative thinking often not possible within the settlement process.”